We started off this fall 2022 updating our blog until all of us got curtailed when Linda broke her ankle six weeks ago. She shared what she learned in this time (see below) and we’ll try to get you all up to speed with both life and ministry activities. We have some video flashbacks below if you scroll to the bottom of this post. As always, we hope our blogs give a broader, general idea of our experiences and life in the greater Paris area. Ultimately, that’s what they are about.
We got back from a full summer – I made two unexpected trips (here and here) to USA and then another to preach in Italy with a partner church. You’ll be hearing more in another blog post about our Italian adventure. Hope you read that one too.
We’ve been excited and thankful two of our kids seem to be thriving in their new school, learning in both French and English, with some additional Spanish thrown in too. We are making more concrete schooling plans for our third child. We feel like our children have really begun to get their footing here after the first year.
We’ve also began the church planting process in Paris. We have a French church who has been gracious to host, support, and encourage us in this area, and has let me preach at their church (though not yet in French) several times as well. A weekly English speaking group meeting has begun in different spots around the neighborhood. It is inclusive of others interested in this new church. There have been lots of conversation and a sharing of the vision for an international church in this area for families, students, and immigrants.
When our group meets each week, it’s very international. Often times I’m the only American. We’ve had people from the Philippines, Turkmenistan, Iran, Malaysia, France, Brazil, Holland, India, Singapore, and the UK attend. Several are friends we’ve made in the last year and others have been invited to come along by someone they know. Several are not Christian. Here in Paris that can mean agnostic, atheist, or raised amongst a different religion. We focus the group discussion for people of different faith or no faith at all. In essence, we are cultivating a community aimed at people who would not go to a church.
For example, on a recent weekly group meeting, we walked verse by verse in Acts 3. We spent time on the idea of seasons of refreshing. It seems like everyone wants to be refreshed. How can we truly be refreshed and what does that mean? Refreshment in the Bible is a little counterintuitive – you are weak before you are strong. We call that repentance. Yet what is that really? We talked about what that entails for us: to be honest, not hiding, confessing, asking for help, being open about your weakness. We all can seek seasons of refreshing in many ways, yet what really brings it about for us? I share these insights in a weekly newsletter for not only those who attend, but also for Paris Partners who are invested in seeing how God will grow this group.
With my French studies, I no longer feel like I’m drowning. We all can understand more and more. I’m reading a lot – even novels now – in French. What everyone says is true, it is a beautiful language. Although our church is an international church in English, we remain committed to learning French and connecting with nationals as well.
I’ve continued to serve as pastor at EIC within our family of churches. It’s been a blessing to preach, teach, serve the congregation, and be involved in planning ministries for discipleship, men, and even future church planting in other areas of Paris.
Fall is rapidly moving into the Christmas season. Decorations are up day-by-day here in Paris. I love that. We look forward to the upcoming holiday season and all the new year will bring. We’ll be writing much more in the coming weeks and are grateful to stay connected with many of you.
It has been a long 6 weeks. I broke my ankle on Sunday, October 2nd. It was a rainy afternoon, and in the most bizarre, unremarkable slip on a stairwell with no handles, I was lucky to save my back, only to land squarely on my ankle.
The shooting needles of pain were a clear message: God had other plans for my 2nd fall season in Paris. All the committees I had just signed up for: emails of regret that I would out of commission. Family excursions in a romantic season for Paris: wistfully dreamt about from a now well-worn spot on our couch. Dinners with friends after a crazy season of moving twice in 1 year: cancelled. Coffees in Paris: an elusive joy when your cast feels like a pound of rocks you are dragging everywhere.
But the real test was not my social calendar. It’s strange: sitting for long periods of time helps you re-evaluate ALL your priorities.
Top 10 Things I Have Learned
- I do more for my family than they do for me (but after dispensing orders from a cozy seat, I don’t plan to go backwards).
- I fill my social calendar often to avoid important priorities.
- Scrolling social media or binge-watching old shows brings no forward movement.
- If I stay on my phone after dinner, I go to bed thinking about other people’s problems & not what is right in front of me: my kids and my husband.
- When you are alone with your thoughts, your biggest battle is yourself.
- Without exercise or mobility, the Bible as a huge tool to re-orient my thoughts – even surprised myself here.
- If I don’t decide to have purpose to my day, it’s on me.
- Unless you have been stuck in a hospital, bedridden, or home bound, you don’t realize the incredible win of getting up & walking out the door every day.
- Since we work & socialize mostly in English, forcing myself to listen to native spoken French is absolutely challenging & exhilarating when you see progress (old episodes of Friends, Lingopie, or more).
- Every single second of the last 6 weeks, God has taught me something. No day is a wasted day.
Being stuck at home means I also have more time to watch my children, study my children, & pour into my children. Here are my top 10 from the last 6 weeks:
Top Things I Have Been Teaching My Children
- Choose to do right even when doing wrong is the better option.
- You can’t succeed in life without having a purpose. Find something bigger than you.
- Envy is admitting you don’t trust the uniqueness of the life God has given you.
- Life is an adventure. God is always with us, even when we (Mom & Dad) get lost, look like we don’t know what we are doing (happens a lot in France). You don’t have to be scared. We are never alone; God is always with us.
- Your phone is not more important than this moment.
- The best things in life are free – including the ultimate gift of grace. A life of ingratitude leads to selfishness and often destruction.
- Lots of excuses mean no passion. Find your passion.
- People who are committed to work hard are committed out of habit. What are the habits we are working on right now (including Mom and Dad as models)?
- Each one of you has a talent. We are all blessed with talent. But it is on you to develop it, to exercise it, and go get it. It’s not on Mom, not on Dad, not on your friends to bring it out. It’s on you to discover it and to live into it.
- Your actions show who you are – not your words.
Marriage is an ongoing work that could exhaust plenty of blog posts. We are, and have always been, an unlikely couple. But we have not given up, even though we have both deeply struggled in marriage. Here is the top lesson from the last 6 weeks: Our internal and often hidden personal fears trigger all our marriage arguments. We have to be incredibly honest daily with God, ourselves, and to each other to grow deeply.
We are back on social media and back on the blogosphere, so please keep up with us! We have a lot of catching up to do about our lives in France. For our monthly and annual partners, please read a private post just for you here: 2nd Year Excitement and Plans (Nov 2022 Paris Partners); you will receive a passcode this coming Wednesday Nov, 16th.
If you enjoy the blog and believe in what we do, please consider becoming a monthly or yearly partner. We are specifically looking for small monthly donors who feel led to give $20/month or $25/month. Read more and sign up HERE.
Watch our short VIDEOS (click image to start) OR check our Instagram (very bottom feed):
We will be adding videos over the next week, so please check back.
Due to the GDPR Agreement of the European Union & the nature of some of our relationships in France, we will be sharing private posts only with our monthly & yearly Paris Partners.
If you enjoy the blog and believe in what we do, please consider becoming a monthly or yearly partner. We are currently looking for small monthly donors who feel led to give $20/month or $25/month. You can sign up HERE.
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